Liverpool has already attracted well over £2 billion ($3.5billion) of EU grant aid over the last 15 years partly because ofits designation as the poorest city in Europe. These earlier grantshave already made a significant difference to cleaning up the citycentre but additional funding is seen as necessary to create theimpetus for Liverpool to compete as a retail and touristdestination on a par with other major European cities.

The success of the Liverpool bid was partly due to its broadcultural appeal as a city with more listed buildings than anywhereoutside of London, its popular culture which includes the home ofthe Beatles and a leading football city, and its multi-ethniccharacter. The city has the oldest Chinese population in Europe andthe council has already invested heavily in regenerating theChinese quarter.

Liverpool's formal designation as European City of Culture,which simply requires confirmation by the EU, is expected to sparkeven further expansion of the city's hotel, restaurant and retailfacilities.

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